December 21, 2014
by admin

15 Things that Put Tongwynlais on the Map in 2014

Article title graphic

Tongwynlais may be a small village but it made a big splash in 2014. Here are 15 things that put Tongwynlais on the map this year.

  1. NATO Summit – Welcome to Wales
  2. September saw the world’s attention focus on Wales and Castell Coch was featured in a brilliant video by Visit Wales.

    Our photo of Castell Coch was used in the #MyWales gallery at the summit.

  3. Lego Castell Coch
  4. A Lego Fairytale
    In August, we published an interview with Robert Carney, who’s built several Welsh castles out of Lego. Wales Online picked up the story and featured it on their site.

  5. School Power Cut
  6. Tongwynlais Primary School hit the news in January when a power cut closed the school.

  7. Films at Castell Coch
  8. Castell Coch staged two film screenings this year. We were lucky enough to attend the first one.

  9. Holiday Inn Opening
  10. The Lord Mayor of Cardiff officially opened the new Holiday Inn at the end of September.

  11. Castell Coch Vineyard
  12. Phil Carradice wrote a brilliant article about the history of the Castell Coch vineyard.

  13. Cardiff in Bloom Success
  14. Merthyr Road won the “Best Commercial Street” category at this year’s Cardiff in Bloom awards.

  15. Castell Coch in the Telegraph
  16. Castell Coch was featured in the Telegraph article, “Where to see autumn colours around the UK”.

  17. Robot of Sherwood
  18. New Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi, was in Tongwynlais filming scenes for “Robot of Sherwood” in April.

  19. Castell Coch on Bing
  20. Castell Coch on
    Castell Coch was the Bing search engine background in June. Bing’s homepage is viewed by millions of users.

  21. Merthyr Road
  22. The Merthyr Road planning application story was on the BBC News website.

  23. Castell Coch on Restoration Man
  24. Castell Coch was in an episode of Channel 4’s Restoration Man.

  25. Da Vinci’s Demons Filming
  26. Scenes from popular TV series, Da Vinci’s Demons, were filmed around Castell Coch in October.

  27. Castell Coch from the Clouds
  28. Cadw produced a series of videos this year called “Castles from the Clouds”, which included Castell Coch.

  29. Wales Blog Awards
  30. Lastly, was a finalist in the Wales Blog Awards. The awards celebrate the best blogs in Wales and we were thrilled to make the final three in the “Best Community Blog” category.

December 18, 2014
by admin

Creating the Castell Coch Exhibit

Castell Coch exhibit

If you’ve visited Castell Coch in recent years, you’ll have seen the fantastic exhibit that tells the story of this wonderful building. We spoke to Glyn Parry-Jones, who designed and installed it.

It’s hard to believe that the exhibit is nearly 30 years old! Glyn explained that the exhibit was created in 1987 and that it was originally in the lower ground floor of the Kitchen Tower. “It was designed in an ostentatious style which reflected the arts and crafts movement and the surface patterns designed by William Burgess for his wallpaper”, he added.

Glyn attributes part of the reason for the long life of the display to the quality of the joinery, which was made by D. Davies & Son of Penarth. Glyn has enjoyed a good working relationship with them over the past 30 years and created high quality structures for most of Cadw’s monuments. He said, “In many instances some of the exhibitions have had to suffer damp and wet conditions and in certain cases have had to rely on natural lighting, so the quality of the joinery and the joints were an important facet in the design.”

Castell Coch exhibit alcove

The script for Castell Coch was written by Peter Humphries (now retired), who was the Interpretations Manager at Cadw at the time. “Peter was a valuable source of information for all the monuments in Wales and the information was well catalogued and presented by him at all times and a resource which has now been lost to Cadw”, Glyn noted.

Castell Coch illustration

Glyn is selling limited edition prints of the illustration, above, that features in the exhibit.

He is offering readers of exclusive discounted prices:

  • A3 + 25mm bleed all round – £45.00 each (normally £72.00)
  • A2 + 25mm bleed all round – £60.00 each (normally £92.00)

To order a print, contact Glyn at or on Twitter.

December 17, 2014
by admin

New Parliamentary Candidate for Cardiff North

Shaun Jenkins

Shaun Jenkins is 26 years old and has just officially formed his own political party. Alter Change is the culmination of four years work by the Thornhill resident who grew up in Tongwynlais.

I spoke to Shaun about growing up in Tongwynlais, why he decided to start his own party and his plans for next year’s general election.

Shaun grew up on Catherine Drive and lived in Tongwynlais for 24 years before moving to Thornhill with his partner Tabitha and son Zachary. He talked fondly of living in the village and told me he’s passionate about improving the area and its links to Cardiff. Shaun attended Tongwynlais Primary School and proudly remembers receiving the “Pupil of the Year” award in year 6.

After attending Radyr Comprehensive School, Shaun had several jobs before the idea of starting his own political party became a reality. He recalls that work first began in the summer of 2010 and the last four years have been spent crafting over 70 policies for Alter Change. I asked him why he decided to start his own party and he explained that he didn’t agree with all the policies of any of the major parties.

When I asked Shaun to describe the core principles of Alter Change, he stated, “We’re a moral, ambitious and progressive party; we’re campaigning tirelessly to ensure that families are valued, young people are given opportunities to succeed, the economy is robust & stable and society is a safer, moral better place.”

You can find a list of all Alter Change’s policies on their website. They include:

  • Banning bailiffs
  • Cheaper, fairer car insurance
  • Better quality affordable housing

To find out who else is standing for election next year, visit our election hub.

Alter Change website

Shaun has also made several pledges for Cardiff North, which include:

  • Saving Rhiwbina library
  • Improving the Taff Trail
  • Campaigning for a train station for Tongwynlais

I asked Shaun what he believes he can offer Cardiff North that the other candidates can’t. He told me, “I’ve always believed that the issues facing Cardiff North are those faced by most in our country; the economy, crime, immigration, the NHS & education, its politics of today that has consistently got these wrong, and it’s the different, better politics that Alter Change is offering that will make our lives better.”

Considering that the last election was won by just 194 votes, Shaun feels that his first steps in politics could have a significant impact on the eventual outcome.

You can follow Shaun on Twitter, Facebook and read about his party at

For news and views on the general election, go to our election hub. is not affiliated with any political party. We’ll be contacting all the parliamentary candidates to offer them the opportunity to be interviewed